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How are SparkFun Videos Made?

Go behind the scenes at the SparkFun studio to see how our weekly videos are produced.

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Hi there SparkFans! Some of you may have heard that line at some point when pressing play on one of our videos. Every week we release some kind of playable content such as a product video, interview, use case, or even just random social media posts that give a behind the scenes view to whatever we’re doing that week. With all those videos comes writing, production, editing and marketing. As SparkFun's videographer, I wanted to give you a quick rundown on how we would create a typical weekly product video here at SparkFun HQ.

For today's example, let's take the video Rob and I created for the SparkFun Qwiic Shield - a pretty straightforward board released last week that gives other boards WiFi capabilities. When possible, we like to create some kind of project or example for each board, but we don’t always have the time to do so. Here at SparkFun, we push to innovate the next best board on the market quickly, so when we don’t have a project example for a board, often that is due to the fact that we just got it that morning and need to release the video showcasing it by 3 p.m. that day when it goes live. Sometimes we have weeks to make awesome showcases that fully utilize the vast capabilities of a new product, but this was not the case when filming the Qwiic Shield.

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Here is my typical POV in the studio. SparkFun has a dog policy so I bring in my dog Nel whenever I can. Sometimes you might find in the bloopers one of the presenters mentioning her reaction to something or her tail making its way into the corner of the frame.

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We film for about an hour or more depending on the video and then I take some photos of the board for specs. This is the moment in those product videos when all the fine details fly into the screen with a nice close up of the subject.

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From there I’ll either edit the video in the office or take it to my home setup. Since COVID, many of us still have some kind of work from home setup. Masks are still mandated here in Boulder County, so I typically choose to edit from home so I don't have to edit with a mask on.

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We use the Adobe CC Suite for all creative work and once it is edited in Premiere, I create a thumbnail and start the uploading process on YouTube. We typically have a shorter social media clip for Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as well. The video is reviewed by our team for any errors and made live on YouTube once the product is live on the site at around 3 p.m. on Thursday.

This is the final showcase that goes live on our channels! We got the assignment details for the video on Tuesday, Rob creates a script by Wednesday, we receive the board Thursday morning, film it Thursday early afternoon, edit it right afterwards, and post it live by Thursday afternoon. Things move quickly here and we love showcasing this content every week for our community. Stay tuned to our YouTube channel and social media outlets to see all of our latest videos!


Comments 4 comments

  • I think you folks do a GREAT job on the videos! I always look forward to the new product videos on Friday mornings! Keep up the good work! (And give Nel a rub for me... even though I'm more of a "cat" guy than a "dog" guy.)

    On the subject of wearing a mask, I agree that it's not all that comfortable. However, about 25 years ago I had heart surgery, and woke up from that on a ventilator. The difference between the discomfort of the mask and the discomfort of the ventilator is like the difference between an ant hill and Pike's Peak.

  • For the videography/photography geeks, can we get details about the gear you play with for the SFE videos?

    Spotted in the action shots are a Sony alpha (model?) DSLR with a 24-70mm lens, a Sennheiser wireless mic receiver, several tripods with different heads, a monopod, and iKan lights.

  • Great write-up! Cassy is a fantastic videographer and editor :)

  • I love this post. You all create amazing product and demo videos that get my creative juices flowing. I often watch them after a new product is announced, watch again when on the fence about a board, then if I make the purchase, I usually watch them again when I’m using the product.

    I have to make videos at work too. The production value isn’t as high as yours, but I’m encouraged that it’s possible to create great videos quickly. Gives me something to continue to work towards!

    Keep making great videos that inspire the engineering community, and thanks again for sharing a peek behind the curtain!

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